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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Will Republican Administration cut off bullet train funding?

Uploaded: Jan 19, 2017
The change to Republican domination in Washington D.C. could have one excellent ripple effect in California—the feds pulling the plug on Gov. Jerry Brown’s high-school rail.
The outgoing Obama Administration has re-written the rules several times to keep a $3.2 billion federal grant flowing to California. It was part of the 2009 stimulus bill for shovel-ready projects—yes, really.
The Los Angeles Times reported last week, in an article picked up by the East Bay Times, that a federal report showed that the first 118-mile phase that is considered the easiest segment of the 500-mile plan—could run 50 percent over budget. The federal grant was supposed to be matched dollar-for-dollar, but the administration provided what amounted to a line-of-credit.
Fortunately, when Donald Trump is sworn in and his team takes over, they can put an end to the federal largesse. California voters were sold a bill of goods when they approved the high-speed rail in 2008—polling has shown how unpopular it has become.
Nonetheless, the governor continues to allocate money in his budget--$375 million from cap-and-trade funds in his latest proposal. The state bond funds are tied up in litigation so here’s hoping the feds turn off the cash spigot.
Incidentally, while the governor continues to push strongly ahead on his legacy projects of the high-speed rail and Delta tunnels, his budget message urged spending restraint (Democrats won back super-majorities in both houses) as well as adding to the rainy-day fund for the recession that is certain to come.
One of the best lines I’ve seen about the transition from President Obama to President-elect Trump appeared in last Sunday’s East Bay Times. The article, written by four reporters about the potential policy wars between the feds and California, quoted Cal law professor John Yoo.
He said California is “going to know what it was like to be Texas for the past eight years.”
Liberal legislative leaders already have put former Attorney General Eric Holder on retainer, while Gov. Brown’s has appointed Congressman Xavier Becerra to replace now-Senator Kamala Harris as state Attorney General. Both actions appear to be gearing up for a battle over immigration and sanctuary cities, as well as health care and climate change.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Jan 19, 2017 at 8:26 am

DKHSK is a registered user.


One can hope they'll cut off funding, along with cutting off funding to cities who recognize sanctuary status as well.

Of course what will happen is the cities will then start to bellow that the cuts will severely hurt their populations but, hopefully, the new administration weathers the PR.

And speaking of budgets, are you and any of your readers aware of the budget error that our state government just reported?

Web Link

Safe link to Mercury News

Apparently our State Finance department miscalculated cost for Medi-cal by a whopping $1.9 BILLION. This was not an unexpected shortfall, but a clear error by our brilliant civil servants and politicians.

Who will get fired over this "error"?

Democrats unavailable for comment.

Posted by American, a resident of Danville,
on Jan 19, 2017 at 8:54 am

California taxpayers already are paying for hundreds of attorneys who are full time employees of CA Attorney General's office but yet according to Governor Brown not one of them is capable of representing CA in a challenge to Federal Government immigration policy so we taxpayers will have to pay now private attorney Eric Holder millions of dollars as outside counsel to represent CA. Governor Brown then appoints as head of entire CA Attorney General office a politician who does not actively practice law to be CA Attorney General? This is a perfect example of crony corruption and malfeasance in Democrats running CA. How can there not be one single attorney in entire CA Attorney General Office not capable of being a trial attorney represent CA in this matter? Governor Brown claims there is a budget deficit and he is going raise taxes but he still pushes wasting money on bullet train and paying politically connected outside attorneys millions of dollars for what our own Attorney Generals Office is already getting paid to do.

Posted by Dave, a resident of Danville,
on Jan 19, 2017 at 2:05 pm

American - Your information on Atty. Gen. Becerra must be outdated; he is listed as "active" status on the State Bar's website, as of Jan. 1st. Nevertheless, in that role, he is not likely to be the trial attorney in the courtroom on any litigation of the State -- just as the U.S. Attorney General does not typically appear in the courtroom. Rather, he will be overseeing the entire office.

Posted by Resident, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jan 20, 2017 at 4:33 pm

Let's do a thought experiment, it's 2035, you live in the East Bay & want to go to L.A. via high speed rail:

First public transit to BART 30 min., BART to high speed rail depot 45 minutes, wait for a train 15 min. train to LA 1hr 45 min, get off train go to rental car agency & rent car 20 min (ever try going anywhere in L.A. without a car?; now you are in L.A. after spending 3 hr. 35 min. plus lots of hassle, plus being saddled expensive rental car to get around in L.A.

But wait, look at the alternative: simply leave from your home in the East Bay, get in your car, no public transit hassles, & no need to pay for an expensive rental car in L.A.; the drive to L.A. takes 5 hrs. which is 1 hr. 25 min. longer that if you took "high speed rail" and now you have your own car in L.A. & don't need to pay for the expensive rental car. In addition you don't have to be exposed to crowds, filthy Bart cars & stress of "will Bart be on time".

I know what I will do.

"High speed rail" might be useful for opening bedroom communities in Merced, Fresno etc. to relieve the crowding in the Bay Area, but that is it.

Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Jan 20, 2017 at 7:37 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.


Like the thinking, but as of now a plane from Oakland to LAX is 1hr 20min. There is NO WAY a high speed train will come anywhere close to that.

How do you spell boondoggle? D.E.M.O.C.R.A.T.S.

Think of all that sweet sweet graft to be made...

Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Jan 21, 2017 at 7:00 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

One can imagine the democratic reaction when President Trump
Shuts down and vacates the White House Press Briefing Room.
Then sublets the space to Fax News as a satellite affiliate with Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Et El, beginning with Bill O'Reilly interviewing President Trump on Super Bowel Sunday.

Posted by DKHSK, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Jan 21, 2017 at 8:40 pm

DKHSK is a registered user.

Apparently Trump balked at moving the WH press room which I think would have been a good thing as it could have allowed prominent bloggers to the table. Maybe he'll change his mind after the explosive press conference with press secretary Spicer today where he ripped into a reporter who had incorrectly noted that a bust of Martin Luther Kind was removed from the White House.

Say what you want about Trump, but he is not going to put up with the lying press and I personally hope that because the press room is small, that he pulls the press passes of certain organizations and allows a larger tent of the media.

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